Hartalika is a combination of “harit” and “aalika” which means “abduction” and “female friend” respectively. According to the legend of Hartalika Teej, Goddess Parvati, incarnated as Goddess Shailaputri, was the daughter of himalaya who promised her hand in marriage to Lord Vishnu, at the suggestion of Narada. Upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati told her friend of her father’s decision whereupon the friend took Goddess Parvati to the thick forest so that her father would not marry her to Lord Vishnu against her wish.
On the third day of the bright half of Bhadrapud, Goddess Parvati made a Shiva lingam out of her hair and prayed. Lord Shiva was so impressed that he gave his word to marry Goddess Parvati. Eventually, Goddess Parvati was united with Lord Shiva and was married to him with her father’s blessing. Since then, the day is referred to as haritalika teej as Goddess Parvati’s female (aalika)friend had to abduct (harit) her in order for the Goddess to achieve her goal of marrying Lord Shiva.
Accordingly, Hartalika Teej is seen as a major festival and is celebrated on the third day of the bright half of the North Indian Lunar month of Bhadrapud. The festival women feasting during the evening of Hartalika Teej, praying to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, remembering their wedding and staying up all night listening to prayers. The fast (also called nishivasar nirjala vrat) commences during the evening of Hartalika Teej and is broken the next day after a full day’s observance which involves women not even drinking water. The focus is on praying to Goddess Parvati whom Shiva desired should be worshipped under the name Hartalika.
In nepal teej is observed for marital happiness, well-being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul. Teej is the most famous festival among Nepali women. The folk music and dances add more flavor to traditional values of Teej. Teej also welcomes and celebrates arrival of monsoon after a season of summer heat.